eLearning: 8 Great Ways to Think Outside the Classroom

By | eLearning Solutions | 3 Comments

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Don’t make the mistake of calling it a fad – eLearning has solidified itself as a viable method for training and education in (and outside of) the classroom. More traditional methods of training might require a classroom, an instructor and a set block of time, but the uses for eLearning extend way past the whiteboard. Find out why so many organizations are swapping out more traditional methods for the wide array of uses that eLearning offers.

A Flipped Classroom Model eLearning is especially appropriate when you need to combine in-class learning with at-home training. A flipped classroom method means you get to spend more meaningful face-to-face time in class while setting students loose on the material at home and at their own convenience for better retention and results.

Engaging Learners Got a case of totally bored, disengaged learners? It could be your method and not your material. Utilizing eLearning, where learners take control of the curriculum, take quizzes and even play games as part of the process can help offer a jolt of energy to training. Gamification training is one useful method to engage learners.

Skills Training Need to teach your learners something skills-based? You can demonstrate the technique in class and then utilize eLearning to help them get the experience you need. Hands-on learning results in better knowledge retention for a more successful class.

Learner Autonomy Not all students learn alike. By holding back some learners to let others catch up or rush some to keep up with faster learners, you fail to take different training styles into consideration. eLearning allows learners to go at their own pace for a better experience.

Live Supplementation It’s almost impossible to cover all course material in a classroom setting alone.  Adding eLearning to your curriculum allows you to supplement your current classroom-based efforts for more experience with the training and information and ultimately, better-educated learners.

Tight Budgets Don’t have a lot of resources to work with? eLearning can help with that. Since traditional training often requires time off work, travel and paying an instructor, switching to eLearning makes better use of a small budget, especially because the course can be viewed and experienced time and time again without extra costs.

Standardization Even if the curriculum is the same across several platforms, there’s no way to standardize the material if it’s being taught in different locations by different instructors. An eLearning course allows you to standardize the experience across various platforms and departments for more constant learning.

Real-Time Access to Information In traditional models, once the student leaves the classroom, his access to information is gone. By utilizing eLearning, you create a never-ending classroom that allows learners 24/7 access to concepts, courses, quizzes and materials for better retention and the ability to learn on individual schedules – even if it’s just to brush up on new knowledge.

The uses for eLearning don’t stop there, especially when applied your organization’s existing needs and structure. But while traditional learning can limit a student’s experience, eLearning does the exact opposite. Offering more options for differing circumstances and supporting your current efforts with custom eLearning design means both student and instructor get the most out of training and education, period.

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4 Qualities About SCORM that Revolutionized eLearning

By | eLearning Solutions, Engage and Retain | One Comment

 

Developed by the United States Department of Defense as part of an initiative to standardized eLearning across federal and private sectors, the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) was the first system of its kind. Prior to its development, eLearning and blended learning courses often had issues with the consistent creation and reliable deployment of quality content.  eLearning software was expensive and time-consuming to create, and it had to be custom programmed in each specific delivery environment in order to function properly, if at all.

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Blended Learning: How is it Increasing Educational Success?

By | eLearning Solutions | 4 Comments

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One of the greatest challenges a teacher faces is how to incorporate a lesson which appeals to, and can be understood by, the various types of learners participating in the class.  Researchers believe that blended learning will be able to help with that.

Personalized Education Yields Superior Results

In recent years, the concept of increasing the integration of technology into educational environments has garnered much support.  While there will always be a need for the traditional “brick-and-mortar” style of learning, there has been a definite increase in the usage of eLearning techniques within both school, as well as corporate training, curriculums, leaving teachers to wonder whether or not their jobs will soon be replaced by computer-mediated activities.  In 2010, the United States Department of Education published the results of a study intended to measure the effectiveness of face-to-face (F2F) versus online learning. The evidence they found supported the notion that a combination of F2F interactions as well as eLearning lessons developed an environment that fostered the most academic achievement.  Pace University and the NYC Teaching Fellows have even started to offer a two-year certificate program exclusively to train future educators about ways that they can “integrate digital tools and online content into their instruction.”

Blended learning differs from traditional “distance education” courses in that the class is not entirely conducted online, whereas it also deviates from simply including the use of computers inside the physical classroom.  The increasing occurrences of businesses – from small start-ups to Fortune 500’s – who are incorporating this type of educational program into their employee training programs, represents a progressive shift in instructional strategies.

It’s a Win-Win for Both Students and Teachers

Blended learning is reshaping how teachers, lecturers, and administrators approach web-based lesson plans in F2F settings; its very definition specifies that the student, in part, has control over when, where, and at what pace they want to work through the online portion of the course.  In this way, teachers feel less rushed to make sure they are mentioning all of the relevant information during their lectures, and students feel less pressured to absorb and grasp each concept in a short amount of time.  Now, teachers can better utilize the time that’s allotted for F2F learning (i.e. Q&A sessions).  A formal education program like blended learning will only improve as time passes and more businesses and academic institutions adopt and experiment with its techniques.  If achieving a higher level of learning that is able to reach out to a larger, and more diverse group of potential learners is a priority for the American people, then we are certainly headed in the right direction.  For a more in-depth definition, check out this article by TeachThought.com! Read our blog post on extra blended learning resources.

 

6 Things to Consider when Hiring an eLearning Vendor

By | eLearning Solutions | One Comment

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Imagine you were making a movie: As the director, it’s up to you to hire the staff necessary to bring all your ideas to fruition. Unfortunately, you hired the wrong person and suddenly, the award-winner you imagined turns out to be a disaster.

If you’re in the process of designing eLearning for your business, you might have experienced something like this before. Taking on the entire process on your own is tough, so you think about hiring an eLearning vendor to guide you. Hire the wrong eLearning vendor, though, and your plan won’t win any awards. Make sure you work with the right eLearning company who can see your vision for a masterpiece.

Talk to Past Customers for Their Take

Always ask for references from an eLearning vendor – consider it their head shot. By talking to past clients, you should be able to get a feel for how satisfied they are with the eLearning design process and outcome. Even better than solid reference? Solid references from longstanding, brand-name companies that you know and recognize. You can trust the information and opinions from customers who have been with a particular vendor for a long period of time, which speaks to the vendor’s professionalism and ability to deliver results. As you get to know a potential partner, you can decide whether or not an eLearning vendor can deliver what you need on your timeline. Always ask to see past projects and get referrals for clients.

Looking to Hire an eLearning Vendor? Tell Us About Your Next Project Today!

Focus on Graphic Design and Quality

An eLearning program is only as good as its graphics: Consider it your cinematography. Because graphics create the tone and the interest for the entire course, you’ll need an in-house graphic design team ready to take your sketchpad ideas to the screen. If the graphic design components will be outsourced to another company, you might think twice. Being in direct communication with a talented and experienced design team will offer better results and eliminates mixed messages and confusion.

Look for eLearning Partners with Onshore Operations

Being able to deliver everything you need both onshore and in-house means a number of distinct advantages for your eLearning program. When operations – think instructional design and learning management systems – span time zones and language barriers, your project can be lost in communication. What’s more, it’s often hard to deliver quality control and give and receive feedback when your experience spans several locations. Keep the process onshore and you’ll have a better time communicating with the very people you’ve selected to take your vision for a program to the big-time.

Learn About the eLearning Vendor’s Design Process

Quiz a potential eLearning vendor about the general design process. In the best-case scenario, your eLearning vendor should always seem one step ahead of you. An organized process by which the eLearning vendor becomes the eLearning expert gives you the opportunity to work side-by-side when creating an original draft of the module while encouraging near-constant communication throughout the process. Finally, the process should deliver a final product that you’re proud of.

Quantify Costs That Fit Your Budget

Don’t sit down at a $50-per-plate buffet if you can only afford $10. Knowing how much a vendor will charge based on past projects (ask to see examples and get all ballpark figure of the cost) and you’ll have a better chance at sticking with your budget.

Is it a Spring Fling or the Real Thing?

Is this a one-and-done deal, or do you plan on using the eLearning vendor in the future? If you can forge a relationship with an eLearning vendor, you can work together again and again. Choose an eLearning vendor who keeps up with the latest trends and seems excited to jump onboard new projects for you.

When working to design an eLearning program, it’s easy to spot the seasoned pros when compared to complete amateurs. By hiring an eLearning vendor that will work with you on your vision for a finished product, you’ll see your ideas play out on the big screen – or your computer, at least.

 

 

eLearning: Internal Forums are the New Watercooler

By | eLearning Solutions | One Comment

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How to Benefit From an Internal Company Forum

If your internal corporate communication has landed on Twitter or Facebook, it’s time for your company to consider a private location for employee chitchat—an internal company forum. Social creatures will gravitate toward social outlets, and if you don’t have an internal one, they’ll gravitate elsewhere. The following examples illustrate ways others have benefited from an internal social network.

Social Selling and Marketing vs. Internal Corporate Communication

SocialMediaToday says that even dull companies can rock by using Internet social media to facilitate business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-customer (B2C) interactions such as marketing, selling and brand awareness. Facebook and Twitter, however, are improper venues for airing internal company laundry. It’s too easy to let proprietary and confidential information accidentally slip during a public conversation. If it’s going to slip out, wouldn’t it be better if it slipped out on an internal company forum?

Using the Internal Company Forum to “Keep ‘em Close”

With employees spread over large geographical areas and employees working wherever their laptops, tablets and smartphones reach, the physical watercooler[MJP1]  has died. CNN reports that social networking replaces the watercooler. Employees have a difficult time working as a team when they don’t feel like they belong to a team, and an internal corporate communication venue can foster a sense of belonging. Forum managers can set up virtual book clubs; lounges to discuss, give and receive help on training videos; private areas to collaborate on eLearning projects; and off-topic, social watercoolers on the forum.

Solidify the Brand With an Internal Company Forum

In a Forbes article, Helen Loh, vice president, digital marketing at Schwab says, “Sharing ideas and networking across the company [via Schweb, their internal company network] facilitates better interactions with our clients. It’s a way of connecting the front line with the back line.” It “demonstrates how everyone is living the brand.”

 

eLearning: The Role of Venture Capitalism

By | eLearning Solutions | One Comment

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Who’s Who in Venture Capitalism and eLearning

With everyone from Forbes to trends forecaster Gerald Celente beating the drums on the need for an educational renaissance, it’s a natural for venture capitalism and eLearning to intersect. Who are the VC players and what do the companies in which they invest bring to the table?

Venture Capitalism and eLearning Go Global

The Economic Times reported that in August 2012, SBI Ven Capital, one of the largest VCs in Japan, invested 3 million USD in Liqvid. Based in India, Liqvid specializes in English language learning software. In 2014, they’re looking for an additional 10 million USD in venture capital for their flagship EnglishEdge software program in hopes of expanding into the global marketplace. Matrix Partners India and Nexus Venture have been mentioned as possible investors.

Venture Capitalism and eLearning Take On Compliance Training

In January 2014, Reuters reported that OpenSesame, “the world’s largest source of online courses dedicated to employee, compliance, and business training,” raised $8 million in Series A funding from Partech Ventures. OpenSesame courses are delivered via email, browser or a learning management system. Nicolas El Baze, General Partner at Partech, says, “We feel OpenSesame is well positioned to fill the gap that currently exists in the corporate training space—quick access to quality courses.”

Blackberry saved by eLearning and Venture Capitalism?

Well, not quite, but it did help the company through a lean time. In late 2012, New Enterprise Associates Inc., and Omers Ventures invested $80 million in Desire2Learn Inc., the eLearning arm of Research In Motion (RIM), makers of the Blackberry smartphone, according to Bloomberg. At the time, Blackberry’s sales were off, and they were able to channel some of their personnel into eLearning. RIM/Desire2Learn proves that what seems an unlikely alliance today could turn into tomorrow’s dream partnership between a startup and an angel of an investor.